The Rockefeller Foundation and the Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth, the two philanthropic arms of the organizations, announced a partnership on Tuesday (Jan. 22) called Data Science for Social Impact, according to a press release.
The aim of the new organization is to “accelerate the use of data science by empowering nonprofit, civic and government organizations with the tools, expertise and other capabilities they need to help solve the world’s most pressing challenges.”
Both companies pledged $50 million as an initial commitment to the fund over the next five years, and said they plan to ask other companies and charitable organizations to join them.
The abundance of data – more than 2.5 quintillion bytes – “has the potential to improve the lives of billions of people around the world,” stated the press release. “While businesses have been building and deploying data science capabilities for many years, those on the front lines of social good often lack the resources to do the same. However, governments and nonprofits are actively looking for new ways to advance their efforts through applied data to allow, for example, improved access to public transport for underserved communities or the acceleration of disease diagnoses.”
The collaboration also aims to help local leaders discover insights from data and create more impactful services for communities.
“At Mastercard, we believe the digital economy needs to work for everyone. If we can close the gap by providing the nonprofit, civic and government sectors with the tools, talent and investments they need to apply data science effectively, then we have a shot at solving some of the greatest challenges of our time,” said Michael Froman, vice chairman and president of strategic growth at Mastercard. “We see a world where the promise of technological innovation can deliver on our goal of inclusive growth.”
Dr. Rajiv J. Shah, president of The Rockefeller Foundation, said data is the next big thing that has the power to change the world.
“Like the introduction of science to medicine 100 years ago transformed the delivery of health worldwide, we are poised to take the next big leap [in] bringing data science to social impact,” Shah said. “We’re excited to invite partners from the public and private sectors to join Data Science for Social Impact and help us inspire a new generation of social sector leaders to use data for good.”
As a first act, the two companies plan to fund $20 million to DataKind, a global data science and AI nonprofit.